Monday, February 8, 2016

Peak Productivity Part Four

By: J.T. Evans

This is the fourth and final installment of Peak Productivity. The first, second, and third parts are already posted.

Idle Your Engine

You obviously can’t be productive every moment of your day/week/month/life. Attempting to do this will lead to a miserable life, and will only burn you out on the concept of writing. This will, of course, kill your productivity, and that’s not what we want to happen.

You need to, from time-to-time, step away from the keyboard (or pen) and let your brain run at a slower pace. You’ll be amazed at the ideas that spring forth when you’re not actively thinking about your prose. Again, be prepared to capture these moments with a handy pen and notebook.

Things you can do that idle your brain:
  •     Laundry
  •        Dishes
  •        Vacuum
  •        Change the oil in your car yourself
  •        Go for a countryside drive with the windows down and music blaring
  •        Shovel some snow
  •        Walk the dog (or alone if you're dog-less)
  •        Play with your children
  •       Talk with your spouse
  •        Do a repetitive craft with your hands

Tracking Progress

Another thing I learned from Mur’s podcast relates to this wonderful creation called The Magic Spreadsheet. You can earn points for each consecutive day in which you write. If you miss a day, you reset back to zero points and start over. You can create different awards for yourself for attaining more points. Set up larger rewards for larger point levels.

Some people will also buy a calendar and a whole bunch of stickers of various sizes. For a day where the words come easily and you get lots done, you'll get a large sticker (or maybe two large stickers) on that day. If you get a little bit done, you get some little stickers. No word? No sticker! A quick glance at the calendar can remind of you of how well you're doing and this can help push you forward in your writing. No need to track those pesky word counts. Just look at the stickers and know you're doing well.


As you can see, there are tons of ways Real Life can get in the way. There are also ways you can get in your own way. There are methods to battle these distractions, and also approaches to increase your productivity when you write.

I hope this (rather lengthy) series of blog posts has been useful to my fellow writers. If you have any tips or tricks of your own, please drop them in the comments.

About the Author:  J.T. Evans writes fantasy novels. He also dabbles with science fiction and horror short stories. He is the president of Pikes Peak Writers. When not writing, he keeps computers secure at the Day Job, homebrews great beers, spends time with his family, and plays way too many card/board/role-playing games.

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